After 45 Years, the Car-Free High Bridge Reopens to the Public Tomorrow


The wait is just about over. Tomorrow the car-free High Bridge will be opened to the general public for the first time in 45 years.

The High Bridge spans the Harlem River between Washington Heights and the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx. Built as part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848, it is the city’s oldest bridge. The High Bridge stopped carrying water in 1958, and was closed to the public in 1970. The Bloomberg administration secured funds to restore the bridge in 2007.

The reopened bridge will provide a key link for walking and biking between the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Bike riding will be permitted on the bridge itself, but access ramps are considered too narrow for shared use, according to the Parks Department, and cyclists will be directed to take stairs at each end.

We don’t yet know what hours the High Bridge will be open. In 2013 Parks said it will likely be closed at night, when the parks at each end are closed. Parks also said hours could be adjusted based on demand. Bike and pedestrian paths operated by the Parks Department are often prone to restricted or inconvenient access.

Clarence Eckerson shot this Streetfilm in 2009. For more on the history of the High Bridge, check out the short documentary from PBS Thirteen.

  • red-bike

    An archived still of High Bridge:

    http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/4a32413u.jpg

    “The Washington Bridge and High Bridge over the Harlem River along the
    northern boundary of Manhattan, looking south. Circa 1890 albumen print
    from a photograph by William Henry Jackson. Detroit Publishing Co.”

    Looks like graffiti on the rocks in the lower right corner. Rotten kids.

  • Fred

    Great piece! For all the latest developments on the High Bridge, Highbridge Park, and the surrounding neighborhood see
    highbridgeparkdevelopment.blogspot.com

  • Jeff

    Any news on the Randalls Island Connector? It’s felt so close to being done for so long. Recently, on one of my regular rides from the South Bronx to Astoria, I figured, “It’s gotta be ready, right?” Well I was wrong. Had to backtrack to the Triborough (though I must admit the ramps that descend from the Bronx span of the Triborough onto Randalls Island are really fun for some reason, but the route to continue on to Queens is rather awkward).

  • realposter

    last week when I looked it seemed they were paving it.

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